With the release of my first published work, Masks, this week, I’d like to talk a length about my experience during the whole process, because it was unique in that I A) had no idea what I was doing and B) I’ve never done this before. So if anyone is curious how Masks came to be and about the long process that it went through from start to finish, here it is.
I first started writing Masks for fun as a backstory for characters I made because of a writing buddy. I kept an eye on the collection calls at LT3 hoping to one day find something submit to. When I saw the Villains, Inc, I thought about submitting it to that, but didn’t get to finish it in time and gave up on it for a while.
Then I saw the call for Enemies to Lovers and ended up completing it in time to submit it to that call. It didn’t get accepted initially into that call because the editor didn’t think it’d fit well with the other stories, but offered to pass it along to be considered as a general submission, and it ended up being accepted there.
After I signed the contract, my story was sitting in the editing queue for about five months with me having no idea what to expect or what was going on. Finally, in about March I got back my first revisions for it. It was a mess. It was nowhere near up to snuff and the editor recommended I rewrite it.
At this point, I fully realized everything that was wrong with the story in the first place because it had all been laid out for me. I realized that as much as I liked just writing for fun, I really had no idea what I was doing when writing something with the intent of publishing it. But I’d already signed a contract and I had to make this work.
So I asked for a month to rewrite it, and I rewrote the whole thing, taking every change and suggestion the editor had into consideration. One of the suggestions was that I write it in first person and I even did that. I don’t usually write in first person, used to even hate reading it, but I’ve read some good first person books and had actually recently warmed up to the idea of eventually writing something in first person, so I went with it at the suggestion.
I actually really enjoyed rewriting the story, despite all of my anxiety around doing so. Because of some of the feedback I received, I was able to see what I needed to do to improve the characters, and I was really able to tap into Avari’s “voice”. I was able to write him better and in a way that made more sense and was more consistent. I was also able to draw on a few new experiences I’d had between my original manuscript and the rewritten one that I thought added more life to the setting, so that was also a plus.
One month, 21k words and a ton of new and revamped scenes later, I turned in my “revised manuscript”. Then I waited again to hear back.
In the meantime, I was given opportunity to revise my blurb, and my book got a cover (which I’m still head over heels for!). During that whole time I was thinking, “Oh God I’m going to get this thing back and it’s going to be awful again and I won’t have time to fix it. What will I do?” After all that, I got more revisions back. Turns out it had been sent on to copy-editing, so I did a whole lot of worrying for nothing. It didn’t go back to the first editor at all.
There were only a few minor revisions that were suggested by the copy-editor, and some here and there grammar fixes. And here I thought I’d be stuck with no way to meet another deadline in a couple weeks when it was only about six weeks until release. But it only took me a few hours to finish.
After that the rest really went pretty quick. I got a galley copy back and sent off the last few changes, and viola! I had the finished copy back in no time.
This whole process has been nerve-wracking and anxiety inducing, though it wasn’t without it’s exciting moments, like getting a book cover and seeing my book on Goodreads and on LT3’s website. From start to finish, I feel like it took a kind of long time, part of which I think was that LT3 may have been a bit backed up at the time, and still is. In fact they are currently closed to general submissions due to this. But I got through it and Masks is now out there!
I may not have been ready to throw something out into the world honestly, but I did. I never actually expected that Masks would be the first thing I got published at all. Yet here we are.
I hope some people out there enjoy the story. It’s a story that was very close to me that my heart wanted to tell. It’s a part of the story that needed to be told before anything else could happen. In my head, it’s only the beginning. I have so much more planned for these characters that I’d like to share with the world, to expand that tip of the iceberg that was revealed in Masks.
With any luck, my next time around will be faster and smoother!
So that being said, I hope you enjoy. Happy reading!